Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Strength does not come from physical capacity.  It comes from an indomitable will”.

Mahatma Gandhi.

I was coaching a general circuit training session, and we had a couple of minutes left before we had to finish.  We could have just left it there.  But instead we did one last flying lap round the circuit.

We probably only spent 5, maybe 10 seconds on each station.  In fact, if you were not seriously quick, by the time you got to the station, it would be time to move on to the next. Add to this, the fact that everybody was already knackered and sweaty, the room was hot and cramped with people and fast moving skipping ropes and no one was quite sure what station they should be on now/next. In this situation, you can do one of 2 things:

  • Think “bugger it!  I’m knackered, this feels like chaos, I’m going to reach each station just in time for us to change to the next, so I don’t have to actually do any more work“.
  • Think “bugger it!  I’m knackered, this feels like chaos, but I’m not going to give up!  I’m going to shift up another gear, keep fighting and overcome this shitty situation!”

And I was happily surprised to see how many people chose the second option! Because, from a physical point of view, there was no point at all in that last flying lap.  The fitness/strength gains you will make, or the amount of calories you will burn, is practically zero.  It will just make you hotter, sweatier, smellier, make you feel more knackered and you risk getting whipped to death by a skipping rope! And with general training with general people, I don’t really mind if they do the flying lap properly or not.  They are training for fun and enjoyment, after all! But…from a psychological point of view, it is worth your weight in gold!  And when I am coaching someone for competition, or gradings etc, if they ever choose option 1, I’ll be on them like a ton of bricks! Because, whether it is strength, fitness, relationships, work, school etc, the main thing that holds us back is the thought:

“Bugger it!  I can’t be arse with this!”

And the main thing that drives us forward to actually achieve our goals, is the indomitable will to try more…try harder…try again.  To never stop trying. I learned this a long time ago when I was being coached by a man called Frank.  And if you have ever trained with him before, you might recognise the infamous phrase…

“…just one more time…”

Finally, watch the video below to see the practical application of an indomitable will.  It is clips of Elwyn Hall fighting in competition.  You see him never giving up, never backing down and always trying just one more time!

UPDATE:  Indomitable will part 2 (click here)